British Columbia

'There simply was no plan': Jamie Bacon not the mastermind of botched hit, defence says

Bacon's defence is trying to dismantle the theory that the notorious drug trafficker was behind a 2008 murder attempt, arguing the botched shooting was too inept to have been planned by anyone.

Bacon is charged with counselling an associate to attempt murder of Dennis Karbovanec in 2008

Jamie Bacon is on trial for allegedly counselling an associate to kill a partner in the drug trade. (CBC)

Jamie Bacon's defence is trying to dismantle the theory that the notorious drug trafficker was the mastermind behind a 2008 murder attempt, arguing the botched shooting was too inept to have been planned by anyone.

Lawyer Kevin Drolet presented the closing arguments for the defence in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday and told members of the jury they should not believe the testimony of two men who claim they carried out the shooting on Bacon's instructions.

"There simply was no plan to hit Dennis Karbovanec," Drolet said.

He described the Crown's version of events as improbable.

"The actual evidence of Mr Bacon's involvement in this plot is incredible and inconsistent," Drolet said.

Bacon is charged with one count of counselling an associate to murder Karbovanec in Mission on Dec. 31, 2008. Karbovanec was only injured in the botched shooting.

The Crown's star witnesses are two men whose identities are protected by publication bans — CD, the alleged gunman and AB, the man who says he lured Karbovanec to the Mission cul-de-sac where the hit was supposed to go down.

'A quarter of a million reasons to lie'

Drolet argued the jury should be cautious about trusting the testimony of the two witnesses, both of whom were experienced criminals at the time of the shooting and both of whom have incentive to lie.

Although they have admitted to carrying out the shooting, CD and AB have escaped prosecution as a result of their agreement to testify against Bacon and received generous witness protection packages, Drolet pointed out.

"Not only did they escape, scot free, any responsibility for their actions, they received a quarter of a million dollars each, tax free — a quarter of a million reasons to lie," he said.

The two men are being treated as what's known as "Vetrovec" witnesses, which means they are considered disreputable characters. The jury will be warned their testimony requires special scrutiny and should not be relied on without the confirmation of independent evidence.

Drolet argued Wednesday there is little independent evidence supporting anything beyond CD and AB's involvement in the shooting and said the two men often gave conflicting versions of events.

CD, then a low-level drug dealer, told the jury he agreed to carry out the shooting in order to erase a $20,000 debt to Bacon. AB testified that he brought Karbovanec to the cul-de-sac under the guise of carrying out a "grow rip" at an illegal cannabis operation nearby.

At the key moment, CD's gun jammed and Karbovanec managed to get away. He was struck by two cartridges, one that grazed his head and another that became lodged in his back.

Little evidence of planning

Drolet said parts of their story don't make sense.

Both men suggested they'd met with Bacon to plan the hit, but they gave different descriptions of where those meetings took place and how Bacon communicated with them — CD says he used a whiteboard, while AB testified he used hand signals.

Then there was the shooting itself. Drolet argued it showed little evidence of advance planning.

For example, CD and AB brought only one gun, but they didn't test it out beforehand. The shooting happened on a cul-de-sac, close to several homes and within eyesight and earshot of witnesses, rather than in one of the many secluded spots in the area.

And they brought along two other men, who weren't in on the alleged plan and who they weren't sure they could trust, Drolet said.

"Remember, they're going off to commit a first-degree murder, but they're taking along a guy who they don't know if he can keep a secret," Drolet argued.

Earlier this week, Crown prosecutors suggested the shooting did not go as planned because neither AB nor CD were experienced hitmen.

Wednesday's arguments wrapped up the evidence portion of Bacon's trial. On Thursday morning, Justice Catherine Wedge will give the jury their instructions before they are sequestered to consider a verdict.

About the Author

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay has more than a decade of experience in B.C. journalism, with a focus on the courts, health and social justice issues. She has also reported on human rights and crimes against humanity in Cambodia. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.